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PLEASE, SOMEONE HELP ME WITH PULLED PORK!!!!

Hi all. Got a problem here. I bought a 8.40 lb. pork shoulder, bone in, intending to make pulled pork. I made up a rub, slathered it all over the pork at room temp., put it in a foil baking pan and put it in a 225 degree oven and let it cook overnight - 13 hours. I pulled it out this a.m. and was surprised to find that the oven was barely warm. The bottom of the roast was hot but I could tell that the oven had been off for awhile. There are meat juices in the bottom of the pan, but not that much.

I cut into the end of the pork and it's cooked alright, but certainly NOT falling off the bone and pulling it is out of the question. The bone in fact is tightly attached to the inside of the roast.

Can I take the now cooked pork, put it back in the pan, add chicken broth or something, put foil over the top and cook it some more???? I have people coming to dinner this evening, expecting pulled pork. What can I do to make this fly (other than sailing it through the window)?

Thanx.

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  1. If you had a power outage, the main issue is was the roast sitting in the "danger zone" (less than 140 degrees) for very long. Potential for bacteria. Other than that, yes, you can continue the process. It will likely get up to the temp in stalled at overnight rather quickly, then take it's time finishing just like any other pork shoulder. Might be a bit drier than normal.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sbp

      Thanx for your reply. I don't think there was a power outage (although we have them regularly in our little town in Iowa) because had there been one, the digital clock on the stove would have been blinking, and it wasn't. More to the pork, to be sure of whether it was cooked through or not, I cut the roast in half. It squirted juice all over the floor (made the dog happy!!) and I cut a piece out of it and ate it. Fabulous flavor, tender, juicy, etc., but not pullable. I'm now wondering if maybe I could make Cuban sandwiches instead. Hey - I'm nothing if not adaptable!! Also, I'm giving thought to putting it on my Weber and smoking it for an hour on slow, indirect heat with hickory chips. What do you think??

    2. I'd make sure the oven isn't broken, first - there has to be a reason it wasn't hot and that reason might cancel your party! If it doesn't work, you can't continue cooking your pork!

      I would also be worried about bacteria growth, as sbp mentioned.

      5 Replies
      1. re: sandylc

        Good point, sandylc. I just turned the oven on at 350 and it's working fine. As I said, the roast cooked at 225 for 13 hours, but the timer only goes to 11:59, so maybe, as a safety feature, it turns itself off at 12 hours. Don't know. If so, the roast was in there for an hour at declining temp until I got up and took it out. Having eaten a piece out of the middle, I'm waiting for repercussions. I feel okay so far . . .

        1. re: caiatransplant

          Some ovens do turn off after 12 hours as a safety feature. Since you said there wasn't a power outage, I'll bet that is what happened.

          1. re: nofunlatte

            I also discovered this to-me-annoying feature when making pulled pork. And fwiw 4 months later, if the oven has such a failsafe, there's probably a way to turn the feature on and off, though likely in a way that's not at all obvious without the manual. On mine, you have to hold down two random buttons on the keypad for several seconds.

            1. re: nofunlatte

              That's why I use either a crock pot or sous vide for pulled pork. Sousvide makes it best ...pull able but not overlooked.

              1. re: sal_acid

                I meant over cooked

        2. No idea at all, shot in the dark- wonder if your oven has a built in kill switch after x hours of usage.

          1. I would check the oven temp with an independent oven thermometer. I would check it at different settings. Let it come to temp for a good 30 minutes and some ovens require longer. Check it again after it has been on for awhile. I had an oven that would preheat but then when food was put in it, it would loose temperature. It was a brand new oven. The first clue was that baked potatoes didn't bake. It might be something as simple as needing calibration, but you need to know if it is coming to the right temp and maintaining that temperature. Many ovens do shut off after 12 hours. I would be worried about the temperature not being hot enough to kill bacteria as well.

            1. Did you look at your oven thermometer to verify that the temperature was, IN FACT, 225 degrees F when you woke up and opened the oven door?

              If not, throw it out.

              When in doubt, throw it out.

              This is nowhere close to being worth the risk. Throw it out.

              1. I assume I'm too late to help here, but I'm curious how it all turned out.

                I'm also wondering if you covered the meat. I've only ever made pulled pork in a slow cooker, I assumed that covering the meat was what made it pull-able...the steam keeps it soft and moist and ...loose. My only other attempt at pulled pork was the "correct" way: I cooked it over a gill for a long time with wood chips. It was dry and could not be pulled...apparently I was nowhere near low and slow enough.

                9 Replies
                1. re: danna

                  Steam is not what makes or keeps it moist. The breaking down of connective tissue, along with the existing juices and fat, keeps it feeling moist and allows it to be pulled.

                  When cooked in the oven, treat it the same as if it were on your grill: cook it uncovered.

                  1. re: 1POINT21GW

                    I'll take your word for that, as I assume you have superior knowledge to me on bbq (it wouldn't be hard :-) , but in that case, why do you think her shoulder is not breaking down? Apparently it cooked for 12 hours before the oven shut off.

                    1. re: danna

                      Hi All. Thank you all so much for your suggestions! When I've been feeling a low as was possible and turned to Chow, you guys have never let me down. So, here's what happened with last night's dinner: I ran down to my neighborhood deli and bought some sliced pit ham and a couple of loaves of French bread. I made Cubano sandwiches with that very succulent (but unpullable) roast pork shoulder, pit ham, pepper jack cheese, Grey Poupon Country Style mustard, put them on my mom's griddle, turning them after awhile until the cheese began to melt, served them with potato salad, followed up with (unfortunately) a somewhat soupy sorbet made with mangoes, peaches, strawberries and vanilla yogurt and, finally, coffee. Nobody left any part of it. I still have an enormous amount of roast pork left so I'll have to find something to do wth it, but dinner turned out well. Thanx again!!

                      1. re: caiatransplant

                        Slice the rest up and Foodsaver it in portions that you can freeze and use for more great Cubano sandwiches on nights when you don't feel like a lot of prep. BTW, let me know what night you will be serving them, and I'll be there. Sounded yummy!

                      2. re: danna

                        If it's full of moisture, meat tightly attached to the bone, and not pulling, then it didn't cook at 225 degrees F for 12 hours.

                        1. re: 1POINT21GW

                          Yeah, not at that weight, anyway. I've smoked 12-14 lbs whole shoulders that HAVE taken longer than 12 hours (overnight smokes make that easier!). The real point is, because no 2 shoulders are the same (even at the same weight, meat can have different density - think weightlifter vs. couch potato), the only way to tell when a pork shoulder is done is "when it's done." Time is not an effective way to tell. I use a remote thermometer; when it's had some time in the 195-205 range, it's pullable.

                        2. re: danna

                          Didn't reach the temp for gelatinizing collagen even tho meat cooked.

                          1. re: sal_acid

                            I probably reached the temperature at which connective tissues begin to dissolve (160 degrees F), but didn't stay at that temperature long enough.

                      3. re: danna

                        Hi Danna: I cooked it uncovered in the oven. I'm thinking I'll take the rest of the roast, smoke it for an hour or so, then put it back into a foil pan with chick broth, cover it and let it cook for another half day or so. Hopefully, it will be pullable when I'm done. After that, pull it, bag it and let me Foodsaver go to work, then freeze. I may not do another roast pork for the foreseeable 5 yrs or so. Pat

                      4. Pulled pork is nominated for dish of the month. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/869782

                        Vote for it if you would like to see it featured in October.

                        1. If the pork wasn't done properly at 12 hours it's not likely it would have been one hour later. Sounds like more than a likely 12 hour auto-off.

                          1. Pork butt takes from 1.5-2 hours per LB to cook. at almost 8.5 LB your shoulder could have taken up to 16 hours to properly cook. the fact you cooked it at 225 (A little too low in my opinion) makes it all the more likely the internal temperature didn't reach 195.